Work satisfaction, dignity, and a sound paycheck are not the only attributes that affix with the title of ‘Doctor’. The profession tags along a lot of challenges and sacrifices while losing oneself in the service of others, more pronounced especially during this desperate time of the Coronavirus.
“Doctors on Call” is one such team that has been in service since its inception in 2018. A leading home healthcare service organization, it has been to be a strong pillar in upholding the health of the valley during these tough times by providing convenient medical services at people’s doorstep. Mr. Suman Neupane, the Managing Director and co-founder, walks us through the organization’s beginnings, the challenges, the vision, and everything in between that gave rise to this novel institution:
What ignited the idea of “Doctors on Call”?
While working in a hospital after completing my MBBS degree, I and my colleagues Dr.Suyesh Karki and Dr. Mohan Bhandari reflected upon the people that used to come to the hospital. We acknowledged that they were mostly old aged, obviously because they were the ones most prone to diseases. We figured out that a good number of patients belonged to the outskirts of the valley and had to go through the trouble of having to travel long distances because of the limited modern facilities and services that only the urban hospitals were equipped with. Chronically ill people and homebound ones had to rely on their relatives to get the services. Most importantly we saw the sudden drift on the online platform and wanted to challenge the conventional ways of healthcare services. Just like every other commodity that can be placed at people’s doorstep so should the significant services we thought. These challenges and reflections were what gave birth to the idea of “Doctors on Call”: an organization that seeks to provide accessible, tailored services as per the consumers’ needs.
What were the challenges that you faced as beginners in the entrepreneurial field?
Coming from a medical background, we were academically sound but we lagged on the managerial side of the operation. Being a fairly new practice in Nepal, the government hadn’t yet addressed the guidelines or legal procedures concerning home healthcare services. More importantly, it was very difficult to convince people about the viability of these new sets of practices and how they were equally efficient compared to the traditional services provided by hospitals. To overcome such shortcomings, I went to the Kathmandu University of Management to pursue my MBA and the other two co-founders completed their Masters in Health Management. The skills acquired during this tenure assisted us to overcome the challenges and work towards better customer satisfaction.
How is your organization withstanding the challenges presented by the pandemic?
Several leading governmental and private hospitals are catering to the needs of COVID patients. Yet the fear of the pandemic shouldn’t be a reason for the other patients to alienate themselves from acquiring the best healthcare services. Thus, as an organization that is serving people at their homes, we have been working relentlessly throughout the lockdown period while employing the best preventive measures. These adversities have in-fact highlighted the role of our organization for people who seek reliable health services without having to fear contracting the virus or face the hassles of transportation and public lockdown guidelines.
Along with being recognized as the Heroes of the Pandemic, there were also certain stigmas that followed. What do you have to say about this predicament?
Fighting this pandemic is not a one-man job. We have been regarded as “medical warriors” and the respect and appreciation that follows have been tremendous. Unfortunately, there also are people who have formed misconceptions about us and about what we do. Some have called us a profit-oriented organization rather than a purpose-oriented one, whereas some regard us as the very carriers of the virus. People need to understand that the profit we earn is inclusive of the operational services and is the essential fuel that makes running of the entire organization possible. Although constructive criticism is always welcome, there has been a rise in such destructive propagandas which has demotivated us to a degree. As we only seek to provide accessible, affordable, and equitable services for all, we just wish for dignity and gratitude as paychecks to continue working relentlessly.
Any final words for our readers?
The word ‘entrepreneurship’ has been used in so many contexts that it has lost its true meaning along the road. Youngsters have hopped on the bandwagon taking it as merely a trend without shaping their ideas and calculating the risks. It’s not easy. The market has a high failure rate because of its highly competitive nature and there are multiple setbacks that one must face before reaching the ultimate goal. Preparation and patience are the key ingredients that lead to prosperity; Setting a clear map to reach your vision is the best way you can move forward.